With calm and concentrated football Celtic eased themselves into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, winning 0-3 against an organised Albion Rovers side.
Brendan Rodgers had made some alterations to the team after the last game at Ibrox with the likes of Gamboa and Boyata coming into the side along with Nir Bitton. Sviatchenko suspension and an unwillingness to throw Simunovic straight onto the artificial surface, were two reasons behind the defensive shake up. The change that would have delighted most Celtic fans, by far, would have been Kieran Tierney’s who returned to the starting eleven after three months out.
Surprisingly, it was Albion Rovers that had the first shot on target of the match which was easily saved by Craig Gordon. This would turn out to be Rovers’ only shot on target with Celtic showing their complete professionalism by steadily controlling the game thereafter.
Celtic had a few decent attempts on goal with a Stuart Armstrong effort being tipped over the crossbar along with Scott Sinclair coming close only for the Rovers keeper Stewart to save.
The deadlock was broken in the thirtieth minute of the first-half when Kieran Tierney charged down the left-hand side cut in, found Scott Sinclair in miles of space who curled the ball sublimely into the top corner. With the way in which the game was going it was proven that Celtic would have to produce something special to get things going, which of course Sinclair did.
Many Celtic fans seemed frustrated as the team plodded along and never really upped the tempo. This slow passing football continued for the good part of the second half with the odd effort at goal, Gamboa coming close with an effort which he dragged wide of the mark.
It did look like Moussa Dembele had doubled the lead in the sixty-seventh minute only for his headed effort to narrowly miss the mark. Using the wide areas seemed to frustrate Albion Rovers with Celtic again coming close after the ball was whipped in by Callum McGregor only to rebound of the crossbar after Boyata’s connection in the air.
Eventually, Celtic’s advantage was doubled when a fresh Patrick Robert’s jinking run into the box was met with Moussa Dembele’s knee to put the hoops two up, it was no more than the team deserved. It was Robert’s again who would turn provider for the last goal of the game, the wee man charged into the box to set up Stuart Armstrong for his ninth goal of the season.
Overall, the game was very lacklustre with many of the Celtic players taking the game easy to some extent. The main thing is that Celtic are through to the fifth round of the Scottish cup where they will play Inverness Caledonian Thistle on the weekend of the eleventh/twelfth of February.
That’s 19 consecutive domestic wins for Brendan Rodgers. Not bad at all.